Won't hesitate to cross borders if...: Rajnath Singh warns terrorists
Guwahati, Apr 23: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday asserted that India would not hesitate to act against terrorists who target the country from across the border.
Speaking at a programme, where Assam-based veterans of 1971 India-Pakistan War were felicitated, Singh said that the removal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from many areas of the North-East is the result of durable peace and stability in the region.
"Some people believe that the Indian Army does not want AFSPA to be removed. I want to say from this forum that the Army has a minimal role in internal security. The Army wants that the situation becomes completely normal in Jammu & Kashmir so that AFSPA can be removed from there as well," he added.
Rajnath Singh voiced the Government's unwavering commitment to strengthen the country's security apparatus to deal with internal and external threats, adding that "We have taken a firm stand to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and have protected our citizens from the menace. We have shown that, if needed, we will eliminate terrorism emanating from across the border."
He assured the Nation that the Government does not and will not hesitate to take bold decisions to protect the unity and integrity of the country.
Rajnath lauded the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for strengthening the infrastructure in border areas, saying that all efforts being made to bolster the far-flung areas from Arunachal Pradesh to Ladakh.
He shed light on some of the BRO projects including Atal Tunnel and under-construction Sela Tunnel which, he said, will provide all-weather connectivity to the far-flung areas and enhance the defence preparedness.
Reiterating that it is the Government's duty to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of the ex-servicemen, Rajnath Singh assured the veterans of all possible support.
He said, the Government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the welfare of the ex-servicemen, as every warrior of today is a respected veteran of tomorrow.
"We fulfilled the long-pending demand of One Rank One Pension as soon as we came to power. Under Digital India, many online services have been started, including Smart Canteen Card and Ex-Servicemen Identity Card. A Pension Grievance Portal is also functioning to address the issues of pensioners. Now, Havildars who retired before 2006 and got the rank of Honorary Naik Subedar are also getting the benefit of revised pension. Orders were also given to revise the pension regulation of the three services in December 2020. We believe in taking care of our brave soldiers, not only while they are in service, but also after their retirement," he stated, listing out the measures taken by the Government for ex-servicemen welfare.
Rajnath also spoke of some of the steps taken by the Ministry of Defence to achieve the Prime Minister's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'. "Earlier, India was counted amongst the defence importers. Today, we are ranked among the top 25 defence exporters of the world. In the last few years, we have increased our defence exports by about 334 percent. We have set an export target of Rs 35,000 crore by 2024-25," he said, exuding confidence that this decade will be known as 'Roaring Twenties' in India's defence manufacturing.
The 1971 war provided India with a strategic advantage, Rajnath Singh added, saying that there has never been any tension on the Indo-Bangladesh border as seen on the western front because Bangladesh has always been India's friendly country. He credited the coordination between the central and states governments of the North-east which has ensured peace & stability on the Indo-Bangladesh border and helped the region usher into a new era of development.